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Author: Ron Graham

Glossary Simplybible

Word Study: Parable

Word family: Parable, parabolic.

Synonyms: Story with a moral, analogy, similitude, allegory, illustrative narrative, symbolic anecdote

Related ideas: Interpretation, kingdom of God, the Judgment

Definitions: To tell a parable means to cast a familiar idea beside an unfamiliar idea in such a way that the comparison helps people to better understand grasp the unfamiliar idea. A story is told, certain features of which are analogous or parallel to the points or principles one wishes to drive home.

Greek References: παραβολη (parabolee) 3850 (Strong) from 3846 paraballo, cf 3942. Note that para means beside, and ballo means to cast or throw. So parable means to cast beside —that is, cast what is already understood beside what needs to be understood.


  Nathan's parable to David

  • “You are the man!” (2Samuel 12:1-10)

  Some well known parables of Jesus

  • The prodigal son (Luke 15:11-32).
  • The Sower and the Seed (Luke 8:4-15)
  • The parable of the talents (Matthew 25:14-30).
  • Two gates and two houses (Matthew 7:13-28).

  Some other interesting parables

  • Hagar and Sara (a true story) (Galatians 4:21-31).
  • Melchizedek and Abraham (a true story) (Hebrews 7:1-28).
  • Flood and Fire (a true story) (2Peter 3:1-13)
  • The dragon and the glorious woman (a vision) (Revelation 12:1-17)

Comment: Jesus was a consummate teller of parabless. He used to often speak in parables rather than speaking in plain language. He did this so that hostile listeners could make no case against him whilst genuine listeners would find his parables memorable and illuminating (Matthew 13:10-17).

Best lesson: What is a Parable and How do you Interpret it?


Webservant Ron Graham

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